Do architectural monuments need to be protected against lightning?


Architectural monuments are of great nationwide significance for each state. They bear witness to bygone eras, as well as the cultural progress of various peoples. Among them are built-up settlements, structures of church architecture — temples and mosques, as well as monuments of folk architecture — wooden chapels, museums and mills. One can say a lot about their value, but one thing is clear - this cultural property needs to be guarded and kept safe. That also applies to protection against lightning.

Is lightning protection really needed?

As per the regulatory document RD 34.21.122-87 monuments of history, architecture, and culture are includedin category 3 of protection and are regular built structures from the viewpoint of lightning protection in compliance with SO 153-34.21.122-2003. Therefore, they have got to be protected, but protection with the minimum reliability provided for by regulations is admissible. Is that correct?

A great amount of these objects are made of wood, so lightning will inflict serious damage to such a structure when it hits, therefore the presence of lightning protection will save the life of the architectural monument. But not only wooden objects are in the crosshairs of lightning, as can be seen in news reports that talk about demolitions inflicted by the elements.

Monument of the 18th century - The Preobrazhenskaya church in Suzdal, July 2011


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Church in Poland, July 2013

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Church in Scotland, July 2016

What is the interior structure of lightning protection?

A few centuries ago people rang bells, believing that their continuous ringing would be a lifesaver against lightning, whereas these days more realistic methods have emerged – lightning protection using special equipment.

Lightning protection comprises three key components: an interception rod, conductor wire and earthing. The first two elements are installed on the exterior side of the object, therefore they must be as invisible as possible for the man in the street. Modern manufacturers offer several options for their production, however, there are not so many options that take account of the exterior look of a structure.

Natural metal structural elements can be used as interception rods. This makes it possible to preserve the height of monument and original view. In cases when there are not such elements, we recommend using an interception rod. It guarantees the minimum probability of lightning breaking through the lightning protection system and will easily blend into the rest of the structure.

For conductor wires, it is better to use copper-plated or galvanized wire. It can be laid along the water-supply pipe or painted in the color of the structure.

Iron foundation rods could be used as earthing. If they are not present, then deep rod-type electrodes will easily do the job. They will help build a reliable and, most importantly, compact earthing system with minimal groundwork.

Also, don’t forget about surge protection devices. If electricity and modern devices are used as part of the structure, then surge protection devices are necessary and will save many units of equipment.


Measures to preserve buildings cannot be regarded as complete unless they are guarded against lightning. The value of architectural monuments is higher than the efforts and funds invested into lightning protection. Contact the Technical Center for a detailed consultation:


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